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New patron Princess Anne salutes Mercy Ships volunteers

'Everybody who comes here has a skill and is happy to serve in whatever capacity will help the whole,' Princess Anne said
Princess Anne, who became patron of Mercy Ships International in 2021, today commemorated the launch of the charity’s new hospital ship, Global Mercy.

The princess royal traveled to to Rotterdam to meet medical and maritime volunteers preparing to sail to Africa on Global Mercy.

Mercy Ships relies on skilled volunteers, in partnership with developing nations, to deliver accessible, free surgery and medical care for those in poverty and urgent need.

This was Anne's first engagement in her new patron role after a long history supporting the charity. She previously visited Africa Mercy in Sierra Leone in November 2011; the ship is currently serving in Senegal.

Leaving a legacy through training of local healthcare workers 

'A mixture of volunteers bring brilliant surgery, knowledge and medical skills, from countries all over the world, but everybody who comes here has a skill and is happy to serve in whatever capacity will help the whole,' Princess Anne said. 'The success Mercy Ships has had training doctors, dentists and medics to carry out the work in the future in their own countries — that is a real legacy.'

'Our need for volunteers is now greater than ever — more than 2,600 a year to serve on our two-ship fleet,' said Joanne Balaam, CEO of Mercy Ships UK. 'Today’s visit by the princess royal is a wonderful recognition of all those who volunteer for Mercy Ships.'

Doubling impact in Africa

With Global Mercy, the big sister of Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships expects to double the impact of its work with life-changing surgeries, education and training local healthcare providers in Africa. When both ships are in full service, Mercy Ships hopes to perform more than 5,000 surgeries, deliver over 28,000 dental treatments and train more than 2,800 medical professionals annually.